Skip to main content
11:35 pm
tonight on "nightline" -- a desperate search for a 10-year-old girl who vanished on her way to school. the only trace, her backpack, now one of the precious few leads in a case that's turned a colorado town upside down. tonight, for the first time, her family speaks out. an incredible journey to the top of the world. our team goes to the frozen waters of the arctic. where a hunt for energy treasure has created bitter battle lines in the ice. and how first lady michelle obama is calling out americans to change the lives of those who serve and families who love them. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city,
11:36 pm
this is "nightline." october 9th, 2012. good evening. i'm bill weir. thanks for being with us tonight. well, it was the same, short walk she took to her colorado grade school every morning. but last friday, 10-year-old jessica ridgeway never made it to her fifth grade classroom. the only clue, her school bag found six miles away. as police search door-to-door, in a town under the microscope. her family speaks out for the first time. and abc's clayton sandell has the latest from colorado. >> reporter: this is 10-year-old jessica ridgeway, horsing around a few months ago with a home video camera and the family dog. >> that's the camera. see? >> reporter: tonight, the video has a special urgency. it was released by colorado police because jessica is missing. and today, for the first time, her parents are speaking out. >> it's the worst thing i've ever been through. >> reporter: the fifth grader
11:37 pm
vanished last friday, while walking the short distance between her home and her elementary school. >> you don't hear anything. and then, you get the pit in your stomach that you don't want any parent -- any parent to ever experience in their whole entire life. >> reporter: late this afternoon, the fbi searched jessica's home, removing boxes headed for an evidence lab. sources tell "nightline" the family consented to the search. jessica's parents, never married, have been to court recently with custody issues. but police say those issues are unrelated to her disappearance. >> i just want to find my daughter. >> reporter: it was early friday morning that jessica was last seen by her mother, as she left for school. >> i watched her walk out the door. and she shut the door. and that's the last time i saw her. >> reporter: jessica never arrived to school friday morning. but the staff called her mother to report her absence.
11:38 pm
but she told police she was sleeping after working graveyard shift after a tech company and didn't hear the call. by the time she got the voicemail message, eight, critical hours had passed. >> the idea she could be eight hours in another direction, put the police way behind in figuring out where this child might be. >> reporter: by saturday, more than 800 volunteers turned out to help find jessica, scouring fields and hillsides. >> they gave us descriptions of what the little girl was wearing the that's what we're trying to find. >> reporter: police brought in teams of scent-tracking dogs to search the family's neighborhood. >> they looked in everything. washers, dryers. you find this girl, that's the main concern. >> reporter: they found nothing. but sunday, that first real clue. a man called police about a backpack and water bottle with jessica's name on it, found on the sidewalk about six miles from where she was last seen. >> we've been looking for a
11:39 pm
lead. this possible is that. >> reporter: police swarmed the subdivision, questioning residents and searching their cars. >> we believe the backpack to be jessicas. >> a vast majority. up to 90% of child abductions, are by parents or individuals close to the child. >> reporter: so far, jessica's parents are said to be cooperating with police. her father, jeremiah bryant, is on felony probation in missouri, for second-degree domestic assault. >> i'm going to give you a flyer. >> reporter: but tonight, investigators say they have no suspects. and are relying on the public for leads. >> everybody who knows me and knows her and knows our family, knows we didn't do anything. >> reporter: with time, crucial in a case like this, parents in the community are wondering, should the school have called more than once to flag jessica's absence? >> we make the phone call to the number that the parent requests we call. >> reporter: according to jessica's mom, that voicemail
11:40 pm
wasn't received for eight, long hours. why not make a second call? >> exactly. those are the questions that we will be talking about. and we will be asking ourselves. >> i need her to walk back through that door. >> reporter: jessica's backpack is being examined for dna evidence. until more clues are unearthed, this mystery will continue to rattle residents, who are praying, tonight, for a little girl's safe return. i'm clayton sandell, for "nightline," in westminster, colorado. coming up next, we'll take you deep into the frozen waters of the arctic, where a billion-dollar battle has begun, thousands of feet below the ice. when we got married. i had three kids. and she became the full time mother of three. it was soccer, and ballet, and cheerleading, and baseball. those years were crazy. so, as we go into this next phase,
11:41 pm
you know, a big part of it for us is that there isn't anything on the schedule. did you know that as we age our need for protein increases, yet many of us don't meet our daily protein needs? that's why there's boost® high protein nutritional drink. each delicious serving provides fifteen grams of protein to help maintain muscle and help meet expert recommended daily protein needs. plus it provides twenty-six essential vitamins and minerals and is gluten-free. help get the nutrition you need with a complete and balanced nutritional drink. try boost® high protein. also available in powder. this has been medifacts for boost®.
11:42 pm
yeah, i might have ears like a rabbit... but i want to eat meat! [ male announcer ] iams knows dogs love meat. ...but most dry foods add plant protein, like gluten iams never adds gluten. iams adds 50% more animal protein, [ dog 2 ] look at me! i'm a lean, mean flying machine [ dog 1 ] i am too! woo hoo! [ male announcer ] iams. with 50% more animal protein. [ dog 2 ] i'm an iams dog for life. not a rabbit. woof! [ dog 2 ] i'm an iams dog for life. sometimes life can be well,
11:43 pm
a little uncomfortable. but when it's hard or hurts to go to the bathroom, there's dulcolax stool softener. dulcolax stool softener doesn't make you go, it just makes it easier to go. dulcolax stool softener. make yourself comfortable. chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for motorcycle insurance. geico, see how much you could save. >> announcer: "nightline" continues, from new york city, with bill weir.
11:44 pm
2007 held the record for the most dramatic arctic ice melt ever recorded until this past hot summer, when that record fell by an area the size of texas. many see this warming trend as part of a planetary disaster, others are more interested in the massive oil reserves, now opening up in the arctic circle. and tonight, we take you a couple dozen miles offshore from point hope, alaska, where abc's cecilia vega found the front line between sea conservation and oil exploration. >> reporter: wooly socks. check. emergency radio. check. robotic arm, check. we're about to enter the frigid waters of the chukchi see off the coast of alaska. it's one of the most remote places on earth. but these days, it's also a battleground. >> there you go. >> all right.
11:45 pm
>> reporter: under this sea there's thought to be nearly 30 billion barrels of oil. >> this is amazing already. >> reporter: and just a few miles from us, shell is gearing up to start drilling. they hope to strike it rich. and greenpeace hopes to stop them. it is a dangerous mission. just me and greenpeace marine biologist john hocevar. at about 200 feet down, the world outside our sub is teeming with life. looks like a crab. plankton, krill, a seabed blanketed with starfish. the whole floor is covered by them. and creatures scene from another world. whoa. it's huge. >> that's the biggest i've ever seen. >> reporter: but hocevar says drilling could spell catastrophe for this fragile ecosystem that
11:46 pm
sustains life up the food chain. >> you would be talking about millions and millions of dead organisms. >> reporter: the payoff stands to be enormous. the arctic may hold a quarter of the earth's undiscovered oil, enough to drastically reduce america's dependency on foreign supplies. the oil giant has promised to drill safely and responsibly, developing new technologies to reduce drilling noise. and dedicating a fleet of vessels designed to respond to a spill in 60 minutes, 24 hours a day. >> shell bent over backwards over the last five years to compromise here. >> reporter: and shell has found support in some unlikely corners. like bob reiss, an environmental writer who spent three years reporting on the battle for the arctic. >> i think if a company does bend over backwards, they ought to be rewarded for it. >> reporter: and that reward came directly from the obama
11:47 pm
administration, which gave shell the green light to start drilling. shell declined our request for an interview. but told us in an e-mail, the debate on whether to evaluate arctic energy resources is over. we are now focused on safe execution. but greenpeace says it's time to draw a line in the ice. they vow not to stop until all arctic drilling is banned permanently. >> you drill for oil, it's utter madness. >> reporter: earlier this year, activists disrupted operations on a russian rig for five days, despite being pummeled by a water canon. but in the fight against shell, greenpeace is trying a different approach, science. they invited us to tagalong. it's a bumpy ride to their research hub 40 miles offshore. if you fall in this water, you could easily die within just
11:48 pm
three minutes. we're welcomed aboard "the esperanza," greenpeace's ship. and life onboard is what you might expect. tofu for lunch, a serious recycling program and an eclectic crew from all over the world, who dedicate their lives to the cause. >> in this remote, unforgiving environment, we all know it would be impossible to clean up an oil spill. we can't risk it. >> if you drop any kind of development because a spill can occur? or do you have systems and backup systems or other backup systems to deal with a spill, which shell does, and be allowed to proceed? >> it's a tough battle, sometimes, to choose. >> reporter: for those who call the arctic home, like point hope, alaska, mayor, steve omittuk, there's no easy answers. >> people need money. they need our economy to come up. but we need our way of life,
11:49 pm
also. >> reporter: drilling would bring in much-needed jobs. but steve says his community would always rely on life in the sea to survive. >> the ocean is our garden. the animals are our identity of a people. >> reporter: pretty peaceful down here. and down below, our exploration of the arctic's underwater garden continues. there is one final discovery. >> it could be a coral. that is potentially a very exciting find. and away we go. >> reporter: we make our way back to the surface for a closer look at the catch. first, a gargantuan starfish. >> probably weighs eight pounds. >> reporter: then, what hocevar is really excited about. >> this may be a soft coral. if so, this would be the first specimen of coral ever collected in the chukchi sea. >> reporter: environmentalists say these creatures may offer big insight into what's at stake.
11:50 pm
>> we're rushing ahead to allow drilling in the arctic. and we don't even know what's down there. >> reporter: greenpeace faces an uphill battle. shell has begun preliminary drilling. and next year looks set to be full steam ahead. i'm cecilia vegas for "nightline," off point hope, alaska. >> our thanks to cecilia for that long trip. coming up next, first lady, michelle obama. on a mission. her plans for changing the lives of the men and women who have of the men aninsuring that st must be a pain. nah, he's probably got... [ dennis' voice ] allstate. they can bundle all your policies together. lot of paperwork. actually... [ dennis' voice ] an allstate agent can help do the switching and paperwork for you. well, it probably costs a lot. [ dennis' voice ] allstate can save you up to 30% more when you bundle. well, his dog's stupid. [ dennis' voice ] poodles are one of the world's smartest breeds. ♪ bundle and save with an allstate agent. are you in good hands?
11:51 pm
[ male announcer ] every time you say no to a cigarette you celebrate a little win. nicorette gum helps calm your cravings and makes you less irritable. quit one cigarette at a time. at red lobster. there's so many choices, the guests love it! [ male announcer ] don't miss endless shrimp, just $14.99! try as much as you like, anyway you like. like new teriyaki grilled shrimp. offer ends soon! my name is angela trapp, and i sea food differently.
11:52 pm
11:53 pm
11:54 pm
it is 28 days and counting
11:55 pm
until the presidential election. and tonight, more on our series with the first lady of the united states. my co-anchor, cynthia mcfadden, back for that. we got a little taste of michelle obama at home, last night. tonight, you two go on the road. >> we do, indeed, bill. on the road, with veterans and their families, among the hardist hit. michelle obama said before her husband ran for president, she knew little about the struggles of military families. but people she met across the country so touched her, she's devoted to taking a difference. we went to florida with her for our series, "the contenders: family ties." we're waiting on the tarmac at jacksonville, florida. it happens, as you might expect, with military precision. >> and salute. >> reporter: a line of officers, waiting to greet her. >> i'm probably like most americans, where my connections to military life was pretty
11:56 pm
tangential. most americans, like me, they don't have a clear sacrifice these men and women have made. >> reporter: her husband is campaigning on the ending of the war in iraq. but as that happens, the war in afghanistan rages on, with 17 troops killed just last month. the pressures on military families are intense. >> multiple deployments. figuring out, what you do with a child when you're moving for the seventh or eighth time, from state to state to state. and i was floored by the stories i heard. i was educated, consider myself pretty well-informed about a lot of issues. didn't know these stories. >> reporter: she says the stories motivated her and the vice president's wife, jill biden, to create a program called joining forces. they've taken the message to "sesame street." >> it's important to know the people in your neighborhood who serve in the military. >> because they and their families need our support.
11:57 pm
>> reporter: and to primetime, helping to expand a military center to vets on "extreme makeover: home edition." >> move that bus. >> reporter: but the toughest problems, of course, television cameos cannot solve, like the crushing unemployment rate of returning vets. at 9.7%, it's almost two points worse than the dismal numbers for the rest of americans. >> i won't be satisfied and nor will my husband until every veteran and military spouse who wants a job has one. all of you deserve nothing less. nothing less. >> reporter: she's come to florida today with good news. with encouragement from joining forces, 2,000 companies have stepped up and provided over 125,000 jobs for returning vets and their spouses, with a promise to double that. >> they've learned how to translate their service training to the private sector. and that takes a little time to
11:58 pm
figure out, you know, if somebody's been flying a helicopter, what can they do at a railroad? you know, if somebody's been doing logistics in afghanistan, i can figure out how that makes sense. >> reporter: we met some of the veterans who were hired through the program. this group all employed by citibank. >> my last job was anti-submarine officer. >> reporter: how does that apply to what citibank does? >> a lot of it does. leadership. management ability. >> a lot of people come out to do the same type of role on the civilian side if that role is s available. this initiative really opens up and says there's so much more you can do. >> reporter: you don't have to chase submarines, right? there's very few people who are doing that in civilian life. the program seems to be having an impact. from july of last year to july of this year, there's 20% fewer unemployed vets.
11:59 pm
>> they are fighting for the rights and freedoms of all of us. and that's what's moved me about this effort. that's why i get so passionate and get teary about it because -- >> reporter: you are teary about it? >> yeah. you just want to make it right. >> reporter: you keep this up, you'll have sasha and malia. >> i would be concerned. i would be like a mom. concerned about their safety. i would support them wholeheartedly. i think this training and experience is some of the best training and experience that young people can get. >> well, tomorrow, we turn to the campaign. my colleague diane sawyer will have an exclusive interview with president obama. and we'll be with the first lady on the campaign trail. >> see you then, thanks. we hope you will check out our friends at "good morning america." and we'll meet you back here tomorrow night.

ABC October 9, 2012 11:35pm-12:00am PDT

News/Business. Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran, Bill Weir. (2012) New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Greenpeace 6, Us 5, Colorado 5, Allstate 4, Alaska 4, Dennis 4, Abc 3, Florida 3, Michelle Obama 3, Citibank 2, Afghanistan 2, Iams 2, Cynthia Mcfadden 2, Clayton Sandell 2, Jessica Ridgeway 2, America 2, New York City 2, To Tagalong 1, Shell 1, Geico 1
Network ABC
Duration 00:25:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 74 (525 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 1280
Pixel height 720

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 10/10/2012